Gender Diversity in the Workplace

Employers across Canada have the requirement to take steps to be inclusive, considerate and accommodating to those who identify as transgender or non-binary. Important tips and steps have been provided to help create a culture of respect for a gender diverse workplace.


Gender identity and gender expression have implicit and explicit protection in each province. They were added as grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act with Bill C-16 which received Royal Assent on June 16, 2017. That means that employers have the duty to accommodate to the point of undue hardship.

Employees also have a duty. That duty is to cooperate, which means everyone involved in the accommodation process has a responsibility to engage in a meaningful process, in good faith. A good rule of thumb is to treat agender and transgender employees in accordance with their identified gender, not their gender assigned at birth. It’s up to the employee to seek an accommodation; the employer will not broach the subject.

Once the accommodation is known, it’s important for employers to acknowledge and affirm the employee’s gender identity and discuss accommodations in the workplace in a way that the employee feels supported.

The employer would communicate that accommodations apply globally across the organization; they are not specific to one person. The person’s identity would not be revealed in the process of making changes in the workplace.


  • 17% of trans Ontarians declined a job offer due to the lack of a “trans-positive work environment”
  • 28% said they could not get employment references with their current name or pronoun
  • 58% said they could not get academic transcripts with their correct name or sex designation


2021 – The Census will have a third non-binary gender option: “persons whose current gender was not reported exclusively as male or female, persons who were reported as being unsure of their gender, persons who were reported as both male and female, or neither.”

Winter 2018 – The Trans I.D. Clinic offers trans-youth (16-29) legal assistance with I.D. applications, name changes and gender-marker changes.

Dec 2017 – Ines Rau became the first transgender playmate featured in Playboy.

Nov 2017 – Julie Lemieux became the first transgender mayor elected in Canada, in Très-Saint-Rédempteur, Quebec.

Nov 2017 – Canada’s first Trans Workforce Job Fair occurred in Toronto, hosting 15 employers and 200 workers.

Aug 2017 – Canadians were given the option to choose X on their passports which means unspecified, instead of M or F.

Sep 2016 – Hockey Canada added transgender inclusive policies to amateur hockey, including that players will have access to a dressing room that corresponds with their gender identity.

2016 – Canada’s first non-profit gym for the LGBTQIA2S+ communities opened in Edmonton, to create a safer space for fitness, education and advocacy.

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